Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Teaching Kids To Be Thankful

If you want to raise compassionate kids who are thankful; you have to begin when they are young.    Children will emulate what you say, do, and feel from the moment they are aware of the outside world. You smile at them, they smile back.  You goo goo gaga, they respond.  

When children are absorbing the world around them that is your moment to begin teaching compassionate and thankful living.  Are you grateful for the simple moments in your life?  Do you feel happy just being quiet?  Do you feel content sitting on the deck and listening to the birds?  Many times we forget to just be thankful in the moment without the bells, whistles and new big kid toys.  

If your children grow up watching you "needing" the next new thing to make you happy, they too will become a "I want it" kid.  I've actually heard people say they will not be really happy until they get__________; whatever it is they are dreaming about.   If you cannot choose to be happy in the moment you are in and find thankfulness for what is.... you cannot teach that to your kids.  You'll get caught up in buying the newest toy and overwhelming them with stuff instead of your time.

Life is all about choices, and here are some ways to embrace and model thankfulness this season:

  • Make a conscious choice to show your kids the simple pleasures. (Take a walk, listen for bird sounds, help out someone in need...)
  •  Spend face time with your kids and tell them how happy you feel just being with them. (Make cookies, do crafts, teach them a sport...)
  • Avoid using toys and things to show your love. (Quality time will be what they remember and will last a lifetime) 
  • Tell and show your kids that people are ALWAYS more important than things by always putting people in the family and outside the family first.
  • Model selfless service and involve your family in community giving.  (Volunteer, donate.... )
Choose to be happy... and look for the blessings in each moment.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Embracing the Right To Vote Teaches Kids To Use Their Voice

It is so important to teach your kids the power of their voice.  It starts early on when they are given the choice of which snack to eat, or which color to wear, or what they want for their birthday.  All these little choices along the way begin to teach kids that they can think for themselves and that their voice matters and can change the outcome of their day.

When teaching young people the power of their voice it is vital that you support their opinions and avoid trying to make your child a "mini me," you know, a short person that thinks, chooses, and acts just like you. Although it may be cute to watch your child mimic you, it is not cute to see a whole family choosing hate or an entire family pushing their values on their children who may really be completely different in their opinion or what feels natural to them.

If you really want to raise empowered and compassionate kids... you will embrace their thoughts and their right to choose.  On this election day, we all have the right to choose, but it is important that in our choosing we model for our children how to be kind, loving, and compassionate to others who may not think the way we think.  Kids will emulate their parents to some degree, but realize that you are raising a unique individual who is a free thinker.  Show respect for their voice, respect their right without judgement and avoid pressuring them to be your "mini me."